I visited two of the Calgary Public Library branches on my trip out west – branches, so I was told by Anne O’Sullivan, who drove me to both of them, that only rarely got visits from authors. Thank you, Anne.
At the first, Glenmore Square, I was met by Suman Gangopadhyay, the branch supervisor – so much enthusiasm for her job and the community programs she was able to implement.
A class of grade fives arrived, some of whom had read The Nine Lives of Travis Keating.
I only had 45 minutes with them, not nearly long enough. A wonderful group of kids. In the Q/A, one girl asked me if I knew the ending of the book when I began…what a great question!
The second day, in the Shaganappi Branch, I was greeted by Joey Sayer, also so helpful and kind. A mix of grades four, five and six.
One of the teachers had hooked the students on Nine Lives, and Joey had collected their questions for me. Somehow the conversation segued to how my grandson helps out with “techy” questions, including the intricacies of Modern Warfare, and how Stuart always beat me hands down. A lot of the boys there obviously knew about Modern Warfare, so I read the poem about it (swearword omitted) from Nix Minus One. It was really fun.
Libraries, as I must have said at least six times on this blog, are among my favourite places on earth. Where else can you be given access to so many books – and they’re free. Think on it. Free.
Pajama Press, my publishers for Nix Minus One, flew me to Calgary last week. And what a week! So much went on, that there’ll be at least two instalments to this blog.
The major event was the Calgary Children’s Literature Round Table on the evening of the 22nd.
Supported by United Library Services, the event was billed as “Two Celebrated Canadian Authors.” I spoke first, followed by Ken Oppel – now he is a celebrated author.
I’d reread Silverwing before I left Halifax, and read Sunwing on the flight to Calgary – and enjoyed both so much. Imaginative, original, and exciting. So it was a real pleasure to meet Ken, listen to his talk, and exchange ideas on how we write.
Illustrating my talk with excerpts from Nix, I spoke about the power of experience and of imagination to shape our narratives.
Keep reading – we writers need you!
I had a wonderful morning in Bedford South School the week before last. The grade four students had each written a short book about an animal of their choice, all the way from a squid to a red-eyed tree frog.
The teacher – what a woman! – had arranged a group book launch, with parents and other classes invited. And I was invited, too. Such fun to see everyone’s wonderful writing and drawings, a very creative class. Thank you, grade fours!
Another good review for Nix Minus One, this one in the Calgary Herald.
You can find it on Nix’s home page on my website.
I’m in Calgary this week, so the timing of the review is great.
Monday, I’m at the Children’s Literary Roundtable, with Kenneth Oppel – very exciting.
On Tuesday we spend the day at bookstores in Calgary and Pixie Hollow, an hour or so south of Calgary.
On Wednesday and Thursday, library readings, with grades four, five, and six.
Home on Friday.
A busy week!
It’s supposed to snow while I’m there. So here – as an antidote – are the crocuses in my garden
This week, I received a wonderful review of Nix Minus One written by a young man, a review that’s also posted on Goodreads and on my website. But I wanted to bring attention to it because it moved me deeply.
It astonishes me that I’ve written something that touches the male psyche. I don’t start out with an “agenda” when I write a book. I write from character. But Nix, and the potential alchemy of a novel, somehow affected this particular man at this particular time – strongly enough that he took the time to write about it.
Thank you, Winston.
You’ve inspired me to post some spring photos of my perennial garden – photos from last year because the weather’s staying cold in the Maritimes and my crocuses are shivering in the wind.
A busy week copy-editing The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden, to be published in the fall by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.
This is the final book of the three that started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating back in 2008.
If you’ve read the second book, The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy, you may remember Sigrid as one of the Shrikes, the three girls who bullied Prinny. At the end of the book, Prinny is terrorized by Tate and Mel, and escapes in a dory in the fog. Later, she figures out Sigrid was the one who sent for help.
I always wondered what would happen to Sigrid when Tate and Mel found out she made the phone call that got them into big trouble…
Like the other two books, Hidden Agenda is set on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula.
ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)
Nix Minus One
ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)
Brevity of Red, The